Guest Author - Joann Stewart
Magic is a great hobby. It requires many different skills. By combining acting, dance, story telling, juggling, music and other performance skills, you create a presentation that engages and amazes.
You do not need all the skills, but rather you combine the skills you have. By drawing on your strengths and developing new skills, your magic becomes uniquely yours.
Professional magician Jeff McBride uses his skills in martial arts, mime and movement to create mystical performances. Harry Anderson, of Night Court fame, used his street talking patter to create a totally different kind of magic.
Getting started in magic does not have to be difficult. Although you typically see some of the finest magicians and illusionist performing incredible feats, you too can impress family and friends with basic tricks. With commitment and the right resources, you can do some amazing things. The great thing about magic is that even some of the simple tricks are fascinating and often difficult to figure out to the person watching.
If you are interested in learning a magic trick, you first need to understand the basic rules. Remember, part of any magic trick is the way in which it is performed, meaning keeping mystery alive. However, if you do not capture the respect of the people by taking time to learn the trick but also practice the trick until you have it down to a fine art, part of the effect and integrity are lost.
Every school child it seems knows how to do at least one magic trick. Who among us hasn't met at least one person who wanted to show off by performing a magic trick for us. Usually the trick is performed, not as an engaging entertainment, but as a challenge. Their purpose is to fool you and show how clever they are.
Most hobbyist magicians, and sadly a few professionals, approach magic this way. It is presented as a puzzle. The true performer though uses the magic to create something greater. They care not about fooling their audience, but in bringing them into a world of imagination.
An important rule associated with magic is to perform only when conditions are optimal. In other words, if you were to go to a party and someone were to mention that you do magic, choose only the tricks that you know you can do spontaneously. Although it might be tempting to start doing trick after trick, becoming bolder with each, know your limits. This way, you can impress people with just one or two magic tricks rather than bomb by a failed attempt at the third or fourth trick.
The key, even with family and friends, is to leave people wanting to see more. As with anything, be humble, allowing the magic trick to speak for you rather than brag about how great you are, only to make a major mistake. If you were interested in building a career with magic, knowing when to stop and when to keep going is a fine line that needs to be learned.
Take one or two tricks, learn them well. Then add music, a storyline, movement and your other skills to create a magical moment to both entertain and amaze your audience.